Distributing resources

Tony Travers

in Making social policy work

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9781861349583
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302742 | DOI:
Distributing resources

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This chapter reviews the development and use of funding formulae for distributing resources geographically between different local jurisdictions in the UK. It traces the historical roots of today's systems back to the ideas of the Webbs and others in the early 20th century, forward to the changes in local government finance proposed in the Lyons report early in 2007. It describes the way resources are distributed for health, education, housing, local government, and between regions and territories. Formula-based grant arrangements for achieving this are more emphasised as policy instruments in England than in many other countries, in part as an attempt to compensate for the relatively high levels of personal income inequality in this country, and because demands for public services that achieve equal outcomes have grown. However, the advent of quasi-markets, the need to change behaviour in relation to the environment, and the need to provide different incentives for providers may mean that the evolution of equalising funding formulae in Britain has already passed its zenith. Resource distribution in the 21st century is already evolving beyond the settled model of the latter years of the 20th, and the delivery of public services will change accordingly.

Keywords: funding formulae; resource distribution; social policy; local government finance; grant arrangements

Chapter.  7328 words. 

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